So, you think you’re an expert on all things Radwood? For those unfamiliar with the term, this refers to vehicles built from 1980 through 1999 – the rad era, if you will. It was a time of wedge shapes, soft body lines, vivid colors, and tri-spoke wheels. And this video from our friends at Knight Rider Historians delivers a rare look at some cool concept cars of the day.
It comes in the form of a behind-the-scenes video taken during the filming of 1993’s memorable action flic, Demolition Man. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Sandra Bullock, and Wesley Snipes, it depicted a peaceful Southern California society in 2032 rocked by the destructive bad guy (Snipes) and more destructive good guy (Stallone). There’s much more to the plot than that, but you didn’t click this video for a cinematic pop culture lesson. You want to see that red Pontiac Banshee, among many other concepts from the halls of General Motors.
GM was heavily involved with the movie, sending its A-list of concepts to help 1993 filmmakers create a vision of life 40 years into the future. The aforementioned Banshee stands out with its pointed nose, steeply raked windshield, and eyeball-searing shade of red. Dedicated Knight Rider fans will remember the Banshee as inspiration for the “new” KITT featured in the TV movie Knight Rider 2000, hence the Knight Rider-Demolition Man connection.
But wait, there’s more. Much more.
The gullwing police cars were the GM Ultralite concept from 1992, receiving perhaps the most screen time of all vehicles in the movie. The 1989 Cadillac Solitaire also made a prominent on-screen appearance, though if you look closely in the film you’ll also see the 1988 Cadillac Voyage and 1990 Cadillac Aurora. You don’t need to look closely at this behind-the-scenes video, however. Despite its futuristic shape, the Aurora is the silver concept with the tremendously loud V8 engine.
Other GM concepts that barely appeared on-screen are showcased wonderfully in this hour-long video. The GM HX-3 was a curvaceous minivan concept, and sports cars were well-represented thanks to the Corvette Stingray III and Pontiac Sunfire concepts. There’s even a preview of the third-generation Chevrolet Camaro in the form of the 1989 Camaro California IROC concept. The Buick Wildcat and Oldsmobile Aerotech II – prominent concepts from the 1980s – also made appearances.
For better or worse, the future isn’t remotely shaping up like the one envisioned in Demolition Man. There isn’t a single SUV in fictional 2032 San Angeles, California, which we can’t help but find terrifically ironic considering how SUVs absolutely dominate the automotive landscape in real-world 2023. There are still nine years to go, however, and some automakers are still investing in sedans. Holding out hope for a racy red Pontiac or a long-roof Oldsmobile might be foolishly optimistic though. Oldsmobile ceased to exist in 2004, followed by Pontiac’s demise in 2010.
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